President Barack Obama on Thursday said, perhaps unartfully, that his administration is still developing policies to roll back the Sunni extremist group Islamic State.
“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama went on to explain that the public shouldn’t conclude that he has set on a particular course, such as taking imminent military action. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are . . . . We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, so we’re developing them,’’ he said.
Mr. Obama was set to meet with his national security team later Thursday to explore military and political options to confront Islamic State, also known as ISIL and as ISIS, which has conquered swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.
But the president walked back reports suggesting a near-term military escalation in the region. He said he is focused on protecting Americans, offering humanitarian assistance and supporting Iraq’s leaders as they look to build a new government.
In response to a question on when he would consult with Congress on further action in the region, Mr. Obama said he plans to develop “a broader regional strategy, with an international coalition and partners, to systematically degrade ISIL’s capacity to engage in the terrible violence and disruptions that they’ve been engaging in.”
At that point, it would make more sense to consult with lawmakers, he said. “Then, those consultations with Congress for something that is longer-term I think become more relevant,” he said. 

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